Lucy Ellmann is an American novelist who has spent most of her life in Britain. Her first book Sweet Desserts (Virago, 1988), a semi-autobiographical account of being unwillingly transported to England as a teenager, won the Guardian fiction prize. Her latest novel Mimi (Bloomsbury, 2013) urges the immediate resurrection of matriarchy. Ellmann has gone on to make the same suggestion in public speeches, debates and on radio, in Britain and the U.S., but is still awaiting full concurrence.
Having started out as an art reviewer for Time Out, Ellmann has since written book reviews, TV columns, opinion pieces and diatribes for the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph, the TLS, the New York Times Book Review, the Baffler, Book Forum, Aeon, the Glasgow Herald, the Scottish Review of Books, the Evergreen, the Spectator, the New Statesman & Society and other publications. Her screenplay The Spy Who Caught a Cold (1995), about a woman who takes her young daughter on holiday to an English nudist camp, was broadcast on Channel 4.
She has been a Hawthornden Fellow, a tutor for the Arvon Foundation, and for three years was Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Kent. Despairing of the university system, she has since worked individually with adventurous aspiring writers through the Fiction Atelier, with its catchy slogan: “Workshops are for jerks. What you need is an editor.”